What to Look for in a Personal Trainer

You have decided that it is time you hire a personal trainer to help you in your exercise regimen.  This is a good decision because it will give you additional motivation as well as maximize your workout for consistent results.  There are some factors that will help you decide the best person for your needs.

Credentials – The trainer should be certified in their area of expertise.  This means they have successfully passed an exam offered through an accredited organization.  Some of the choices are The American Council on Exercise (ACE), the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), or the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). 

Experience – Find out how long this person has been a personal trainer and how many clients he or she currently supports.  Ask for references.

Personality – You will be spending time with this person.  Find out their coaching style.  If you are expecting touchy-feely but get a drill sergeant, you won’t respond well.  Also, do you feel you will get along with him or her?  Will you be able to talk honestly about how you feel the progress is going?  Find what works for you.

Style – This can mean success or not.  Will he or she incorporate machines?  Will there be outside or inside or both?  Will you need a gym membership?  Be sure his or her philosophy will coincide with your goals.

Specialty – If you are looking for a specific challenge, like a marathon or weightlifting, choose someone who has expertise in that line. 

Price – Hourly rates can vary greatly.  Find someone who fits your budget.

Availability – This includes a regular schedule where both his or her time coincides with your availability.  Will the trainer be able to accommodate any changes and, if so, how far in advance will he or she require notice?  Location is a similar concern.  If it is on your regular route, you are more likely to make the sessions on time, rather than having to drive in another direction.  Another factor is your time slot.  If it is scheduled after you have been home for an hour, will you consistently want to go back out and drive to your appointment?  Talk about make up sessions if either of you have conflicts.

Location – Does the potential trainer work through a gym, a community center, their home, or will you have them come into your home for the workouts?  Decide which is best for you and you will find someone who works that way.

Progress – Together you should decide on how you will monitor your growth.  If you are building strength, what are the benchmarks?  Who will keep the records?  Regular checks mean you are more likely to keep at it and you can decide if the trainer is doing their job.

Finding a virtual personal trainer in Toronto may seem daunting at first, but if you approach it like looking for someone to paint your house, or a new dentist, you should be able to narrow the field and make a good choice for your needs and goals.


Nishi Singh is a professional journalist and editor in New Delhi. She has studied Mass Communication from National Institute of Mass Communication.